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Math Mnemonics

Math Mnemonics

Tip #4 – Math Mnemonics

There are lots of ways you can apply visualization techniques to math problems. Whether your child is learning multiplication or trying to memorize more advanced formulas, adding mnemonics (e.g. images, rhymes or other devices) increases the fun and therefore the retention! Here are some examples of mnemonics at work:

  1. Counting:

A classic example of a mnemonic in learning to count is the old rhyme: “One, two, buckle my shoe. Three, four, shut the door.” And so on.

  1. Basic subtraction:

“Bigger bottom? Better borrow!”

  1. Times Tables:

One trick that has proved to be particularly successful is to associate concepts with each number. An eight might be a snowman due to its shape. A three might be represented by a tree because it rhymes. Or the numbers may be animated and performing a silly task like a human would.

On, for example, you’ll see two animated sixes (with faces and arms) drinking from an oasis. A sign in the picture says “Thirsty Sixes (36).” This scene represents 6 x 6 = 36. The idea is that the child visualizes the scene and immediately associates it with the answer.

Another example from the site is a person driving a 4 x 4 vehicle up a mountain where a hang glider (with a 16 on it) passes overhead. The wording above the scene says, “Remember: When it’s 4 x 4, the fours become a 4 by 4 (4 x 4) and you have to be 16 to drive it.” The scene represents 4 x 4 = 16.

  1. The order of mathematical operations:

“Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally” = Parentheses, Exponents, Multiplication/Division, Addition/Subtraction.

  1. How to measure angles in right triangles:

“Silly Old Harry Carried A Horse To Our Apartment” =


Sine = Opposite leg divided by the Hypotenuse

Cosine = Adjacent leg divided by Hypotenuse

Tangent = Opposite leg divided by the Adjacent leg

  1. Remembering the first eight digits of Pi:

(Count the number of letters in each word):

“May I have a large container of coffee?”


To add even more fun, let your child make up her own mnemonics! They may even create one that the teacher can share with the rest of the class.